Saturday, January 31, 2015

Turkey Meatballs, one of my favorite snacks

There is something about a great meatball that is just so satisfying. Reminds me of Sunday dinners at my Grandmother's house when I was a kid. It has taken me a long time to make gluten free meatballs that are as moist and tasty as those with regular breadcrumbs. Sure, it is easy to make them with no breadcrumbs at all, but sometimes they come out a little too, well dense and springy instead of moist and tender. 

I found a great tip in the "How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook" by America's Test Kitchen where they found potato flakes to give better results than using gluten free breadcrumbs. I gave it a try and bingo!  Fantastic gluten and dairy free meatballs. 

These are a healthier version made with ground turkey as well as shredded carrot and zucchini. You will never know the veggies are in there. 

I make mine on the smaller side because I love using them as a snack during the week, when I don't have time to throw together a full meal. Sometimes I grab one out of the fridge and eat it cold. Usually I heat a couple up and dip them in marinara sauce. 


Makes 24 one-inch meatballs

2 teaspoons oil
¼ medium onion chopped fine, about ½ cup
2 medium garlic cloves, minced, about 2 tsp
1 large egg
3 tablespoons milk (regular dairy or unsweetened almond milk)
2 tbsp plain potato flakes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup grated zucchini, smallest grate
¼ cup grated carrot, smallest grate
1 pound ground turkey thigh
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground pepper


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper if needed and spray with a little oil. 
  1. Place a medium saute pan over medium high heat, add the oil and when hot (oil should move quickly when tilted), add the onions and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir, another 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let cool.
  1. In a large bowl, wisk together the egg and milk. Stir in the potato flakes, tomato paste, parsley, thyme, oregano, garlic powder and cooled onion mixture.
  1. Place the grated zucchini in a paper towel and squeeze over a bowl or the sink to remove as much moisture as possible. 
  1. Add the squeezed zucchini to the egg mixture bowl along with the carrots, ground turkey, salt and pepper. Mix well until all ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the turkey.
  1. Shape into 1 to 2 inch balls and place on prepare baking sheet, place in oven for 30 minutes.

  1. Remove from oven and I usually cut into one of the meatballs to peek inside just to make sure it is fully cooked, no longer pink. Also, I just want to hurry up and eat one. 

Tip: You can also pan fry the meatballs, which gives them a really nice color, better texture and I think, a better flavor. Do this by heating the same saute pan you used for the onions, add a little olive oil, place over medium high heat and cook the meatballs in batches, turning every minute or so to brown all the sides. Place on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.  

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